Here Come the Pests!
LOCAL MOSQUITOS SOMETHING
Because of potential impact on agriculture, tourism and other aspects of the
economy, controlling the wide variety of pests is vital to the Grand Traverse region.
Whether it’s crawling critters, skunks, moles or voles, pesky pests can definitely
impact quality of life for locals and visitors alike.
But when it comes to repressing pests this summer, all the buzz is about controlling
mosquitoes, according to an informal survey of local pest control professionals.
“Mosquitoes are going to be bad this year,” predicted Don Cobb, owner of Cobb’s
Pest Control. “Ninety percent of my work is spraying and 90 percent of it is for
spiders and mosquitoes.”
Located on Keystone Road, just south of Traverse City, Cobb’s Pest Control has been
serving clients across the region since 2000.
Cobb said because of heavy snow followed by substantial spring rain folks should be
aware of standing water and get rid of it whenever possible.
“Water pools up in empty tires, kids swimming pools, ditches, all of that is a
breeding ground for mosquitoes,” he said. “Homeowners can do themselves a favor
by getting rid of that water.”
According to the Michigan Mosquito Control Association (MMCA), mosquitoes,
like other insects, have a development life cycle from the egg to the adult stage.
Mosquito eggs are laid singly or in clusters in water or in mud and debris near
water. The larvae hatch and develop in water through four stages before they
emerge from the pupal stage and fly away.
Males feed on nectar and do not bite for blood. Female mosquitoes require a meal
of blood to develop their eggs and may bite several times during their lives. The
females not only feast on humans, but other animals including birds, mammals,
amphibians and reptiles.
Spraying of insecticides is a common method to control adult mosquitoes, according
to the MMCA. Over large fields, a sprayer can “cold fog” a region by using a small
amount of insecticide, generally about 1 ounce per acre. In Michigan, malathion,
sumithrin and permethrin work well against adults. None are very toxic to non-
target organisms when used at the labeled dosages.
A second approach involves using thermal fogs. This technique requires heating the
insecticide along with another combustible material, such as kerosene or oil, thus
creating a fog. According to MMCA, this method can be effective in areas ranging
from a backyard to a farm field.
A third method of control involves “harborage” or “barrier” techniques. This
involves spraying a dilution of malathion or other insecticide onto vegetation
surrounding the area to be protected. This is often used in parks, backyards,
cemeteries, golf courses and other open areas. The insecticide provides a residual of
active ingredient on the plant leaves. When mosquitoes fly to the plants, they land
and die or are repelled.
Mosquito control has kept workers busy at Williamsburg-based Chemical Control
Co., according to office manager Heather Copeland. “This time of year we’ve
been busy dealing with mosquitoes and spiders,” she said. “We also specialize in
carpenter ants and spiders, all types of crawling insects. Later in the year we deal
with a lot of wasps. And we always get calls for mice, northern Michigan has a lot of
Nuisance Animal Control, based in Interlochen, is owned and operated by Roy Reed.
He’s been kept busy this spring helping homeowners plagued by moles and voles;
both are pests that can do plenty of subterranean damage to a lawn or field.
“We’ve experienced a lot of mole and vole work,” said Reed. “We prefer to live
trap and remove them to property in Interlochen, but sometimes we have to use
poison. We’ve also had a lot of calls for squirrels. They’re almost a rat-infestation
in downtown Traverse City. They can do a lot of damage because they’ll chew on